Not surprisingly, the banana method—you know the one used in sex education classes to teach students how to properly put on a condom—is not working. According to a study in the journal Sexual Health, incomplete and insufficiently explicit sex education leads to common errors such as not leaving room at the tip of the condom for semen to be stored, neglecting to check for condom damage before intercourse and putting on a condom partway through intercourse. This latter error negates protection from transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections because fluids are exchanged throughout sexual relations.
In light of the inadequate sex ed, POZ offers these tips to avoid breakage, slippage or leakage every time you shimmy on a sheath:
- Make sure you are wearing the right size condom. They come in all shapes and sizes! Buy a variety of sizes and try them on at home, yourself. Condoms that are too tight can restrict blood flow and therefore inhibit your ability to maintain an erection. Condoms too big? They can slip off. Size (of your condom) is crucial.
- Open the package with your fingers. Do not use scissors or teeth. Once opened, check for holes or tears.
- Leave space at the tip of the condom. Semen needs to collect somewhere. Remove all the air between the penis and condom before penetration.
- Don't apply a condom too late. Put it on before there is any contact between the penis and partner. And don't remove it too early, before intercourse has ended.
- Don't unroll the condom before applying it on the penis. Place the rolled up condom on the tip of the penis and unroll it all the way down the shaft for optimal protection.
- Make sure you put it on the right side out. The condom should roll down the penis easily. The rolling should happen on the outside, not the inside, of the condom. Lubricated condoms make it easy: The slippery side goes on the outside.
- The right kind of lubrication is key. Using oil-based lubes can damage latex condoms. Use water-based lube instead. Not using a lubricant increases risk for rupture.
- Promptly and properly withdraw after ejaculation. Staying inside your partner too long can allow semen to leak from the condom. When pulling out, hold the condom at the base of the penis to avoid it slipping off.